Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Vietnam totalled $1.72205 billion in the first quarter of 2022, representing a 13.6 per cent increase from the $1.5153 billion recorded in the corresponding period last year, according to Customs. In January-March, Cambodian exports to Vietnam clocked in at $758.81 million, rising by 3.9 per cent year-on-year, and imports were to the tune of $963.23 million, a 22.7 per cent uptick, data from the finance ministry’s General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) show. This means Cambodia’s trade deficit with Vietnam over the quarter passed $204.4 million, marking a nearly fourfold expansion versus the same period last year. Vietnam was Cambodia’s third largest trading partner after China with $2.87343 billion and the US at more than $2.22 billion, GDCE statistics show. Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng told The Post that trade between the Kingdom and Vietnam has been on a steadily upward climb in recent years, which he said signals improvements in relations between the two governments and reflects stronger cooperation among the people along the border. He said that growth in Cambodian exports to Vietnam is mainly driven by agricultural products such as paddy rice, rubber, sesame, corn, Faboideae legumes (such as peanuts, soybeans and mung beans) and cashew nuts. Vietnam is one of Cambodia’s main markets, he said, adding that the two countries have pledged to boost bilateral trade to more than $10 billion. “Crops will be an important commodity for Cambodia to increase its export advantage to Vietnam. Vietnam is also a transit destination for Cambodian exports to international markets,” Heng said. Cambodia mainly exports agricultural products to Vietnam, while major imports include steel and construction materials, oils, fruits and vegetables, fertilisers and agricultural machinery. Agriculture minister Veng Sakhon noted in a statement late in December that many private Vietnamese companies are investing in the production, processing and packaging of agricultural products in Cambodia for export to Vietnam and elsewhere, listing paddy, fresh and dried cassava, corn, cashew nuts, mangoes, bananas and rubber as top items involved in these ventures. In the first quarter of 2022, Cambodia’s international trade amounted to $13.163 billion, up 9.1 per cent year-on-year from $12.064 billion, GDCE statistics indicate. The Kingdom’s exports amounted to $5.717 billion, up 25.7 per cent year-on-year from $4.549 billion, while imports were valued at $7.446 billion, down 0.9 per cent from $7.515 billion. The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) estimates that as of the end of the first half of 2021, foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Kingdom was worth $39 billion, with China accounting for the lion’s share at 44.2 per cent, followed by South Korea (10.6 per cent), Vietnam (6.3 per cent), Singapore (6.2 per cent) and Japan (5.8 per cent), with Malaysia, Thailand, the UK, Canada and the US also making up a considerable portion.